March 18, 2004


Via Amritas I found a run-down of life in the Netherlands. It sounds almost identical to Germany, except for a few minor details.

-- Here, Americans are the only ones who ask for tap water in restaurants. The Germans I know think this is disgusting, and a waiter in an area that doesn't have many Americans will stare at you incredulously when you ask for it. "Why don't you get bottled water?" they ask. Uh, because it costs nearly four bucks -- more than the beer -- and the tap water tastes fine to me.

-- In Germany, you are responsible for celebrating your own birthday. You provide the cake and the party and you pick up the bill. My co-worker says she often has to take 10 people out to dinner on her birthday. I made her a cake this year, and she said it was the first time she could remember where she didn't have to make her own cake. I don't like that tradition at all. I laughed when I tried to imagine what would happen in an American company back home if an employee brought in a huge cake for his own birthday! Ha.

-- Recycling is equally serious here. I am required to recycle since I live on post, but I completely agree with the policy. Not because I'm some tree hugger, but because the American government has to pay the German government for every pound of refuse they dump in Germany. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, which is another good reason why our military should get the heck out of dodge. I try to be meticulous about recycling so I'm not wasting taxpayer dollars, but sometimes I get annoyed: separating glass by color is just busywork.

-- You can also pay your bills at the German bank here, but they charge you a three-Euro fee. Added up monthly over three years, that comes to an extra hundred bucks you're forking over for nothing, but most people just go ahead and do it. I set up a special account here just for our German phone bill so we don't have to pay the three Euros. I'll keep that for myself, thank you.

Posted by Sarah at March 18, 2004 05:26 PM

Oh, you would post this the day before I go out for my birthday dinner in Konigstein. Don't let anyone else know, or I'll regret picking the Irish Bayerische or however they spell it. Due to the meeting most of you have tomorrow night, I"m skipping the Stammtisch.

Posted by: Oda Mae at March 18, 2004 06:56 PM

Here we have the birthday boy/girl bring in donuts for the office. That way we don't have to remember everyone's birthday, and everyone is genuinely happy about the day!

Posted by: Mike Reed at March 18, 2004 08:56 PM

See - more DVD's for you!!

Posted by: Toni at March 19, 2004 04:18 AM

Here in the UK, we bring in food for our own birthdays, but everyone else has a whip-round (normal contribution 2 GBP = ~3 EUR) to buy a present for the birthday boy/girl.

I find it a pretty good compromise...

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